7 Fun Facts About Makeup Every Beauty Lover Should Know

January 13, 2021
By: Makeup.com | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
l'oreal paris lipstick in various colors
When you’re doing your makeup, you’re probably not thinking about the history of your red lipstick or how fragrance became a thing. But maybe you should be. Hear us out — the history behind makeup and beauty products is seriously fascinating. Here, we’re sharing seven fun beauty facts and origin stories that will give you a whole new appreciation for modern-day makeup.

Wearing Expensive Makeup Used to Be Against the Law

“Lex Oppia” was a law established in Roman times that restricted not only a woman’s wealth, but her displays of wealth. This included expensive makeup items and fragrances imported from places like China and Germany. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t last long — it was abolished 20 years later.

Neon Nail Polish Is Illegal in the United States 

Love sporting bright polish on your nails? True neon nail polish is actually illegal in the U.S. So if your polishes are labeled as “neon,” they are most likely imported or are not made with actual neon colorants. The reason? It’s less dramatic than you would think; neon colorants have simply never been officially registered with the FDA.

Lipstick Used to Be Made With Crushed Jewels 

Luxury lip color used to be even more luxe. It’s said that ancient Mesopotamian women used to crush semi-precious jewels and use them to decorate their lips. Since then, lipsticks have been made with everything from red beetles to fish scales (thankfully not anymore!).
person wearing red lipstick

In the 1400s, “Beauty Is Pain” Had a Whole Different Meaning 

Pale, untouched-by-the-sun skin was all the rage for the women of the 15th century. If women weren’t naturally gifted with a porcelain complexion, they’d do everything from use leeches for blood-letting, a dubious medical practice of withdrawing a small quantity of blood to cure or prevent illness. Some women even used a white lead product called Venetian ceruse, which caused hair loss and, in some cases, death. Yikes.

The Trend of Tanned, Golden Skin Was an Accident  

In the 1920s, fashion designer Coco Chanel accidentally got a sunburn while visiting the French Riviera. When she arrived back home, the sunburn had faded into a tan. Her fans started adopting this look, hoping to emulate the luxurious lifestyle of the chic and stylish Chanel. 

Red Lipstick Used to Signify Class 

During the Medieval period, lipstick was used to distinguish social classes in Europe. For instance, wearing a bright pink lip color signified a high class while red tones meant you were of an inferior social standing.

Fragrance Was Once Used as a Disinfectant  

Long before your fragrance was created to make you smell sweet and fresh, it was used for disinfection in ancient China. Some believed that perfume was so powerful, it could help rid a room of disease.
Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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